Look: I am eager to learn stuff I don't know--which requires actively courting and posting smart disagreement.

But as you will understand, I don't like to post things that mischaracterize and are aimed to mislead.

-- Brad Delong

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Thought about Karl Smith

I find myself in frequent disagreement with Karl Smith.  This is no surprise, really, since he is a free-market ideologue with quasi-libertarian tendencies (not that there's anything wrong with that.)   I try to be pragmatic rather than dogmatic, and do not share his belief system.

Karl posts at MB more frequently than either Niklas or Adam (on whom I have given up, and will not waste my time reading.)  Karl is a bright - possibly brilliant - guy.  But many of his posts are poorly conceived, poorly thought through, or simply fatuous.  I scratch my head over this.

It seems especially odd to me, since I put a lot of thought, word-smithing, proof-reading, and even work into my posts.  Whether it's actually good thought and fruitful work, I'll leave to my readers to decide; but it is certainly an attempt to think hard and get something right.

I've concluded that for Karl, blogging does not serve the same function that it does for me.  My guess is that he just throws stuff out there as it occurs to him, without regard for quality or even sense.  It's a test site for ideas, somewhat like brain-storming, rather than a forum for imparting thoughtful communication.  Why have a critical filter, when your readers - who are taking it all quite seriously - will do this part of your thinking for you, and likely in ways that you'd never think of yourself? There are some kernels of knowledge in there, but the chaff to wheat ratio has driven me to this conclusion.

I think this makes Karl unique among the econ bloggers I read.  Even Tyler Cowan, whom I read seldom and likely would agree with even more rarely (for reasons cited above,) seems serious and thoughtful about his posts. Not so, Karl.  At least not always.

Or am I all wet?

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